Avoid the Pain of Tooth Sensitivity
A familiar sound is soon to be carried on the breezes of summertime: The happy song of the ice cream truck. Do you still get excited when you see that brightly-colored truck rolling down your street like when you were a kid, or does the thought of an ice-cold, sweet treat make your sensitive teeth cringe?
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that around 45-million Americans experience tooth sensitivity, or that flash of pain that affects one or more of your teeth, most often when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sour or sweet. Even a breath of cold air can send a deep, sharp, sudden pain down to the nerve endings of your teeth! Brushing and flossing may be painful, too.
Some tooth sensitivity is a result of aging, but other factors cause teeth to be sensitive as well.
- Receding gums and gum disease. Inflamed, sore gums pull back and expose the roots of your teeth, causing pain.
- Acidic foods and liquids. Citrus fruits, pickles, grapefruit, lemon and tomatoes are among the list of foods and liquids that can wear down enamel and expose nerve pathways.
- Plaque build-up. Excessive plaque build-up results in tooth sensitivity.
- Grinding your teeth. Clenching or grinding your teeth wears down the enamel and exposes the dentin.
- Brushing teeth too hard. Hard bristled toothbrushes and brushing with a heavy hand can also wear down enamel.
- Root nerve damage, damaged teeth, tooth decay. Any damage to the teeth, gums or oral nerves will naturally result in pain and sensitivity. Bacteria can accumulate, causing acid build-up and enamel breakdown.
- Teeth whitening products and long-term mouthwash use. Whitening products and some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol and acids that can make teeth sensitive.
Thankfully, tooth sensitivity is treatable and controllable! Just remember to:
- Brush and floss gently and regularly. Brushing your teeth twice daily will keep your teeth clean and free of sensitivity causing plaque. Use a soft- to medium-bristled brush and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Be sure to clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
- Avoid high-acid foods.
- Don’t grind your teeth. If night grinding is an issue, as your dentist about a mouth guard.
- Use a fluoride mouth rinse. Available without prescription, fluoride rinses can help decrease sensitivity. Use once a day.
- Don’t use chewing tobacco. Chewing tobacco causes gums to recede and leads to mouth cancer. Remember, there is no safe tobacco.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
To determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity, to discuss other dental issues you have and to keep your teeth clean and healthy, schedule an appointment with Montee and Montee Dental. You can book a visit online, or you can call us at 615-541-8987.